And just like that another winter sport season is upon us.

It seems like only a few weeks ago there were footy finals, soccer finals and hockey finals all across the shire with lots of teams competing to take home the silverware.

Now it will start all over again and no doubt players, coaches and spectators are all raring and ready to go.

The local rivalries will once again be thriving and players from many different sports will be doing their best week in and week out to win each game of the season.

A bit of healthy rivalry and competition is no bad thing.

But before you head out on the sporting field each week, just take a moment to remember that when all’s said it done, it is just a game.

Everyone loves to be involved in a close, physical contest but there are times when individual players and teams can take it too far.

There’s no better feeling than lifting that trophy at the end of a long and gruelling season.

But is that feeling worth causing yourself or others serious injury.

At the end of the day sport is about going out there and doing your best and we need to be aware that a single moment out on the field could make a lifetime’s difference.

You only need remember former NRL player Alex McKinnon or cricketer Phillip Hughes to know that even the most innocent act can cause irreparable damage.

Following these tragic incidents, the sight of any athlete on the ground in pain has caused us all that extra twinge of worry, sitting with our fingers crossed and hoping it’s nothing serious.

It’s easy to get caught up in the drama and excitement of a close match or a local derby.

What’s not so easy is dealing with the life-changing effects of a bad spinal or head injury. And it’s not only the injured individual who will have to deal with the consequences but their friends and family too.

So before you head out on the field this weekend, make sure you head out there to play the game in the right spirit.

And be aware that your actions could have further reaching consequences that just a scraped knee or bruised hip for you, your teammates and your opponents.

Just like the warnings for drivers on the roads- we want everyone to arrive home safely- even if it is just from their local footy match on a Sunday afternoon.


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